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The day of April 24 is chosen to commemorate the Armenian Genocide committed in Turkey in 1915. That day, 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were arrested in Constantinople and sent to Chankri and Ayash, where they were later slain.

On this day, the Armenian genocide began.

After that, ordinary Armenians were turned out of their homes and sent on death marches through the Mesopotamian desert without food or water. Frequently, the marchers were stripped naked and forced to walk under the scorching sun until they dropped dead.

At the same time, it is said that the Young Turks created a “Special Organisation,” which in turn organised “killing squads” or “butcher battalions” to carry out, as one officer put it, “the liquidation of the Christian elements.” These killing squads were often made up of murderers and other ex-convicts. They drowned people in rivers, threw them off cliffs, crucified them and burned them alive.

It is estimated about 1.5 million Armenians, 900,000 Greeks, and up to 400,000 Christian Assyrians, were killed due to the genocide.

Records show that during this “Turkification” campaign government squads also kidnapped children, converted them to Islam and gave them to Turkish families. In some places, they raped women and forced them to join Turkish “harems” or serve as slaves. Muslim families moved into the homes of deported Armenians and seized their property.

Today, most historians call this event a genocide–a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people.

However, the Turkish government does not acknowledge the enormity or scope of these events. Despite pressure from Armenians and social justice advocates throughout the world, it is still illegal in Turkey to talk about what happened to Armenians during this era.

After the Ottomans surrendered in 1918, the leaders of the Young Turks fled to Germany, which promised not to prosecute them for the genocide. Ever since then, the Turkish government has denied that a genocide took place.

The Promise, the newest film by Terry George- starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Shohreh Aghdashloo, follows a love triangle during the genocide of Armenians, Greeks and other Christians by the Ottoman Empire.

Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise tells a love story between Michael, a medical student, the beautiful Ana, and Chris – a renowned American journalist based in Paris. After many challenges and criticism- due to Turkey’s denial of the genocide- the film was released on April 21.

The Promise covers a largely underreported tragedy: The Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century. Many people today do not know the extent of the massacre but thanks to a dedicated crew and an A-list cast, the atrocity is now getting some attention in the Hollywood spotlight.

Watch Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac talk about the film and the controversy surrounding its release- 

Christian Bale + Oscar Isaac Talk the Promise on CBS This Morning

Christian Bale + Oscar Isaac promote The Promise on CBS This MorningThe stars of this epic Armenian Genocide-era drama slam the Turkish government's denial of this crime.Theater listings: www.anca.org/ThePromiseNever Stay Silent Survival Pictures Eric Esrailian Open Road Films Regal Cinemas AMC Theatres ANCA

Posted by ANCA on Thursday, 20 April 2017

 


GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.

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